I recently massaged a new mother, who told me she felt she could only justify the expense because it was also her birthday.

I get it, because I charge £120, It seems like a lot right? 

Despite the fact that I have been offering and teaching this massage for nearly 10 years, and giving it to hundreds of women, there is a voice in my head which worries that I am charging too much.  And this is not even taking into account the huge investment I have taken in both time and money to attend training, and to buy equipment in order to offer the best treatment I can.

We often take for granted what we are skilled at. And we dismiss the time, training, experience and effort it has taken us to get there. And when we start something new we often have impostor syndrome.

Because of the new mother who felt she couldn’t quite justify the price, I found myself worrying if I was charging too much, and this led me to a reflection about what I charge for this work.

I want to explain what goes into the cost to help both clients and therapists understand what is entailed. As well as new mothers struggling to justify spending money on themselves, many of my students struggle to charge enough for this work.

First, a little of of history about how much I used to charge:

When I started offering closing the bones in 2013, I gave it to my doula clients for free. Then a client asked me what she owed me for the massage. I said it was part of the services, but that if she wanted to pay me more she could. She added £30 to my postnatal doula fee for that week, so for a while I charged this. I then slowly put my prices up to £40, then slowly worked my way up to £120 over the course of ten years.

Every time I put my prices up, it was after I had done a much longer massage ritual than I expected, especially when there was a lot of trauma. Often, the whole process would take half a day, including driving to my client and back (but not including packing and washing, more on that below). 

Until today I had never broken down the price for myself like this,  and to be honest, writing it down came as a bit of a shock, and it was a very useful learning experience for me, as I finally understood how much work and love I put into this.

For reference, people who offer the closing of the bones or the postnatal recovery massage in the UK charge from about  £60 to £300.

Here is what organising and having a closing the bones or postnatal recovery massage entails. 

Here is the process :

  1. Before the massage, I exchange calls and/or emails with the mother, about timings, and which version of the massage she prefers. Often this may take a 30 min phone call.
  2. I pack a huge bag of kit every time. I check and refill what needs refilling (like the massage oil, essential oils and herbal tea bags). This can easily take about 30 min. 

My pack includes the following:

  • 2 memory foam yoga mats (or a massage table and table cover for the postnatal recovery massage) £70
  • A bolster to put under the knees £25
  • A padded memory foam mat to kneel on £20
  • 8 rebozos £250
  • 2 sarongs £10
  • 2 blankets £60
  • A bag full of massage oils, and essential oils, smudging products, herbals teas, and healing tools  £100
  • An essential oil diffuser £40
  • A Bluetooth speaker £100
  • A frame drum £300
  • A closing stick (I had mine custom hand-painted by an intuitive healer), £100

Total cost: over £1000.

Here are pictures of my equipment

Then here is what I do in order:

  1. I drive to the mother’s house, up to 30 min (I’ve done longer drives on a few occasions too)
  2. When I get to the mother’s house, I listen to her birth story, and what she hopes to get from the massage (at least 30 min)
  3. I setup the mat or massage table and rebozos, the essential oil diffuser, the music, I set the room and myself up energetically and using smudge, 10 min
  4. I do the massage itself: rocking, massaging and binding (60 min or more)
  5. When the mother lays wrapped up, I read a poem, I sing, I drum over her, and I finish with some Reiki on her head and feet. 20 to 30 min or more
  6. While she rests and integrates, I make her a drink and bring it to her. 10 min
  7. I then allow another 30 min to unwrap, release the lower back, then debrief and chat
  8. I pack my gear, and say goodbye (10 min)
  9. I drive home (another 30 min)

I always say the ritual takes 2h from start to finish but for me it almost always takes longer, because I do not want to rush listening to the birth story, doing the ritual, holding whatever emotions needs to be held, and a debrief afterwards. It’s not unusual for me to spend 3h there. I am generous with my knowledge, and I often also show new mothers to wrap their belly and hips afterwards. 

When I get home, I unpack my bag. I wash all the rebozos and blankets, then dry them, fold them up, and repack my back. This takes another 20 to 30 min.

The total time the average process takes is over 5h, which at a cost of £120, is only £24 per hour, which is not that much. In my area in Cambridge, a one hour massage costs around £60. 

I hope this helps you understand what offering this ritual entails, why it is priced at this cost. And I also hope it inspires you to get together with friends to buy such massages as gifts to new mothers.

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